Let's call him Joe. Talented in fashion, he leveraged family ties to move up in the retail niche of that industry. Headhunters continually contacted him about better jobs.
Then, mental illness sidelined him. First he was missing days. Then he had to take a leave of absence because he couldn't get out of bed. Soon enough his family, although financially comfortable, forced him to apply for disability from SSI. They hired the lawyer so that he could get it on his first try.
But, mental illness can abate. In his early 50s, he is now okay. The medication has proved to be a miracle.
But like so many Baby Boomers who were derailed, for whatever reason or reasons, he is struggling with What's Next. He wants to begin to bring in income again. The SSI monthly payment isn't big.
So how does he get from where he is to where he could be? Baby Boomers who lost their good jobs or had their small businesses tank during The Great Recession are frequently in the same pickle.
Here are 4 tips for positioning and packaging for a return to work:
- Invest time in getting up-to-date on trends in resumes, cover letters and interview techniques. There have been seismic changes in the last several years. For example, cover letters and resumes must contain the keywords the robot screeners look for. This information and insight are available free at community job-outreach services, books in the public library and articles on the Internet.
- Study help-wanted ads on Craigslist, et al. The tone and content disclose a world of information about the new job market, including for contract assignments.
- Apply for jobs/assignments just to get experience. You are rusty. It will take time to begin doing everything right. Expect to keep revising your cover letters and refining how you present yourself on interviews.
- Take breaks. A search for work is a brutal process. When you sense you are overwhelmed, take a few days off.
One the best guides for success in a search for jobs and attracting customers/clients for your business is "What Color Is Your Parachute? There are multiple copies of it in the public library and used ones for peanuts on Amazon.com.
Incidentally, what Joe has realized is that he has to invest in a PC and Internet connection in order to apply for most jobs. Not only is the application done online. Also, the first interview may be conducted totally online. That could requires hours, often more than the time limit imposed at the public library.